Laser-activated gene silencing via gold nanoshell-siRNA conjugates

Gary B. Braun, Alessia Pallaoro, Guohui Wu, Dimitris Missirlis, Joseph A. Zasadzinski, Matthew Tirrell, Norbert O. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Scopus citations


The temporal and spatial control over the delivery of materials such as siRNA into cells remains a significant technical challenge. We demonstrate the pulsed near-infrared (NIR) laser-dependent release of siRNA from coated 40 nm gold nanoshells. Tat-lipid coating mediates the cellular uptake of the nanomaterial at picomolar concentration, while spatiotemporal silencing of a reporter gene (green fluorescence protein) was studied using photomasking. The NIR laser-induced release of siRNA from the nanoshells is found to be powerand time-dependent, through surface-linker bond cleavage, while the escape of the siRNA from endosomes occurs above a critical pulse energy attributed to local heating and cavitation. NIR laser-controlled drug release from functional nanomaterials should facilitate more sophisticated developmental biology and therapeutic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2007-2015
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 28 2009


  • Gold
  • Llaser
  • Nanoparticle
  • Nanoshell
  • RNA
  • Silencing
  • TAT


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